Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is delighted to announce to members the nominations it has put forward for this year's WA Sailing Awards. RFBYC is very proud of these members and congratulates them on their achievements in the past 12 months. This year's awards will be announced at the WA Sailing Awards function to be hosted on Thursday, 3 May at our Club. We wish all our nominees the best of luck – you are all "Champions" to us.
Male Sailor of the Year – David Gilmour
David Gilmour is a 49er skipper, WAIS sailor, member of the Australian Sailing Team and has been a member of RFBYC since 2004.
David has had a very successful 2017-2018 sailing season having placed 1st at Kieler Woche in June 2017, 2nd in the 49er European Championships and 3rd in the Aarhus test event. More recently David placed 1st at Sail Melbourne and the 2018 49er Australian National Championships. These results reflect the hard work and training that he and his crew, Joel Turner, are putting in with their goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 firmly in their sights.
In addition to David’s 49er sailing he has been skippering ‘Team Gilmour’ in match racing events. David qualified in 2016 to compete in the WMRT Match Cup Australia in which he placed a very credible 4th. David also finished in 1st place in the WMRT Geographe Bay Cup in February 2017. Following from his success in Perth, David went on the achieve 5th at the WMRT Match Cup Sweden and cement his position in the M32 high performance catamaran.
David has been an ongoing supporter of fellow sailors at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club both as a coach and as a mentor. His involvement with the RFBYC Sailing Institute has been an inspiration to many young sailors. His excellent communications skills when coaching sailors of all levels and ages is to be commended. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club are fortunate to have David as part of our coaching team. The high level of coaching Dave has received through the Australian Sailing Team equips him well to give back to our younger sailors.
Female Sailor of the Year – Annabelle Davies & Madison Woodward
Annabelle and Madison began sailing together in the 29er at the WA 29er State Championship in 2017 where they came 2nd overall and 1st Female Team. This success and compatibility on the boat inspired them to embark on an intense campaign to develop their teamwork and skills in preparation to sail together on the world scene.
After sailing together for under five months the girls travelled to Longbeach, California to compete in the US 29er National Championships and the 2017 29er Open World Championships, winning 1st Female Team in both events. This was an outstanding achievement for such a new team, with Annabelle also realising her goal of successfully defending her 2016 Female Team World title.
With the 29er Worlds now moving to the southern hemisphere, the next World Championships were only 6 months away. In preparation for the Worlds in Hong Kong the girls travelled to Sydney to compete in the Sail Sydney regatta where they came 1st overall. They were commended on their performance as it is rare for an all-female team to win this event in the 29er.
They arrived in Hong Kong early to get the boat sorted and fit in some valuable training before the 2018 Worlds commenced. Strong winds and rough seas left the race committee with the tough decision to cancel racing on the first day of qualifiers. The bad weather and typhoon conditions played a major factor in the days ahead. On the second day of qualifiers the girls had a breakage onboard and was forced to retire from the last race. They fought back on the last day of the qualifiers with a first and two fifths to claw their way back to 30th position. However, this was not good enough and the 50/50 split into gold and silver fleet saw the girls miss qualifying for gold fleet by one position. Each fleet had 29 boats, the girls had finished 30th and were disappointed that they were unable to defend their 2017 Female Team World title. As a result they came 1st in Silver Fleet and finished 2nd Female Team overall.
The girls are well known and respected in the 9er circle both here and overseas. They enjoy sharing their sailing experience and knowledge with the junior sailors. With her Optimist background, Annabelle was invited to be assistant coach to the AOST Asian Worlds team in Hong Kong in September. Madison, still classed as youth, competed in the 2017 WA Youth Championship with Holly Hunt coming 1st overall.
In addition, Annabelle & Madison are often volunteering their services. The girls enjoyed contributing to the development of upcoming female sailors at the inaugural #GirlsWhoSail Camp as well as assisting at the Discover Sailing sessions held in conjunction with the Perth International Boat Show to promote Tackers to the general public. Annabelle is also a qualified Dinghy and Tackers instructor and enjoys working at the Club when possible.
The girls have now begun training in the 49erFX and are looking forward to making the transition to the Olympic class.
They are grateful for the ongoing support received from the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation, their primary Club and main sponsor Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, Perth Dinghy Sailing Club, Fremantle Sailing Club, CJW Marine and their parents.
Youth Sailor of the Year – Romë Featherstone
Romë Featherstone is a member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. He is a dedicated and extremely talented sailor who has achieved at a high level in the Optimist, Laser 4.7 and now the 420 class.
After his successes in the Optimist & Laser 4.7 class, Romë focused on transitioning into the competitive 420 fleet. He travelled interstate all year for regattas and training, including his Work Experience and Community Service placements which he completed in Sydney so he could train in the afternoon and in blocks over the weekends. He spent a month in Europe to compete in the French Nationals and then the European Open 420 Championships where he placed 19th.
Despite his busy scheduled, Rome takes every opportunity to give back to his sport, including Laser coaching, helping with Tackers Learn to Sail day and on the SB20's. Romë has competed in the Foundation 36 Inter Club Championships. The Jess Match Cup and the Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing event. All this while continuing to maintain top grades at school.
The highlight of the last 12 months was his win at the World Youth Sailing Championships where he and his skipper, Otto Henry won the 420 class. This achievement reflects his passion and innate sailing ability.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is exceptionally proud of Romë’s sailing achievements – we look forward to his continued success and wish him all the best with his future endeavours. His commitment and attitude is exemplary and he is driven to succeed.
Junior Sailor of the Year – Will Drew
Will has been a member of RFBYC since 2015 and has achieved great success in the past 12 months.
Will was the 2017 WA O’pen BIC State champion and was the runner-up in the 2018 State titles held in December 2017. He also competed in the RFBYC Sailing Institute Match Racing Regatta 2nd, the JESS Match Cup 6th, the 2017 JD State Titles (3rd), and crewed for Dave Gilmour at the 2017 Etchells WA Championship 2nd. In addition, Will sailed with George Anyon in the 2017 Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing regatta where they placed 4th overall. The 2018 Warren Jones Regatta held in January, Will sailed with Will Boulden and placed a credible 2nd place.
In terms of local regattas Will has competed in the Argonaut RPYC Mini Series (2nd) Sail Fremantle(2nd), Perth Waters PDSC (1st) and the ICR (1st).
Will won the 2017 Myles South West Junior Sports Star of the Year award, the first time a junior sailor had ever won in 51 years. He was also the only junior sports person nominated for the South Western Times AJ Buswell Sports Star of the Year senior award.
When at home in Bunbury, Will assists at his local sailing school teaching younger children on Saturday mornings. He was also set to compete with a blind sailor in the Hansa 303 class at the RPYC Argonaut Mini Series however the 303 class was dropped just before the regatta commenced. Will is currently working with the local Rotary Sail into Life program to help them promote racing amongst their participants.
Whenever an opportunity arises Will is a mentor to the newer O’pen BIC sailors and is looking forward to obtaining his Recreational Skippers Ticket so he can drive a rib and further his coaching skills.
Will has just graduated from the O’pen BIC class after four years, he has had a very successful period in the class. Will is heading into the rapidly growing WASZP class to compete in the January 2019 Worlds at RFBYC and also keenly pursuing his youth match racing career as one of the youngest emerging helms in Australia.
Living regionally with limited sailing options, Will views foiling and match racing as a great combined pathway.
At only 14 years of age Will has a bright future ahead. We look forward to supporting Will on his sailing journey and we have no doubt with his passion and determination, he will continue to produce outstanding results.
Instructor of the Year – Allan Polglaze
Alan Polglaze, or Poly as he is affectionately known as, is a remarkably talented and multifaceted instructor across many aspects of our sport.
Poly not only demonstrates but epitomises the qualities desired in a respected and effective instructor – he is knowledgeable, inclusive, passionate and dedicated. In short, he is an outstanding instructor and role model to many in the sailing community.
Poly’s amicable and humorous teaching style is congruent with his passion for youth development in our sport. Over the past few years he has been heavily involved as a lead instructor for the Christ Church Grammar School (CCGS) sports program based at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Poly instructs boys from Year 5 to 12 four days each week – it is a privilege to see the rapport he has developed with each boy and the respect that they have for him, certainly a mark of a great instructor.
As a lead instructor, Poly also takes an active role in the development and mentoring of younger instructors – he shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with all the junior instructors. Poly is a rare find – a qualified instructor in all four of the Australian Sailing instructor qualifications – dinghy, powerboat, keelboat and Tackers.
He is renowned for his passion, patience and attention to detail. His willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ is appreciated, he is always available to spend additional time with participants, fellow instructors, parents or teachers to assist them.
Poly’s enthusiasm and ability to connect with the different age groups across his instructing work is a credit to him – whether they be Little Tackers on their first sail or seasoned sailors in a powerboat handling course he takes it all in his stride.
As an instructor and advisor Poly has played an integral role in WA’s two largest discover sailing events of the 2017-18 season – the Perth International Boat Show (Sept 2017) and the City of Perth Festival of Sail run in conjunction with the Warren Jones International Youth Regatta (Jan 2018). Aside from his involvement in the planning stages, Poly was a team leader in the instructing team responsible for delivering 800 Keelboat Discover Sailing experiences across the two events.
Poly also enjoys introducing new people to the sport of sailing through Swan River Sailing corporate charters and team building experiences, further sharing his love of the sport with others. He is looking forward to heading to Christmas and Cocos Islands later this year to facilitate power boat handling skill development with a number of locals.
Poly’s wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm is unrivalled in our sailing community. He is dedicated and passionate about all aspects of our sport, particularly the development of the future generation of sailing.
Coach of the Year – Ben Durham
Ben Durham has been a member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club since the age of 14 years having joined in 1991. Ben has participated in 4 America’s Cup campaigns and is currently competing on the RC44 and TP52 Super Series circuits. He started his career by winning the 1995 Australian Youth Championships and since then he has continued to achieve impressive results. In 2004 he was first in the World Match Race ranking ISAF, finishing in second place both in the World Match Race Championship and World Match Racing Tour. He also won the World Championship 12mSI (2009), the Extreme Sailing with Luna Rossa, Fastnet, World Championship and TP52 Audi Med Cup in 2011.
Whilst Ben spends periods of time overseas with his professional sailing, when he returns to Perth, Ben plays an integral part of our Coaching Team. Ben came on board 3 years ago as a specialist in Match Racing during the 2016 Warren Jones International Youth Match Racing regatta. RFBYC was represented by 5 teams and Ben was our sole coach for the teams. Under Ben’s guidance, Sam Gilmour won the 2016 Warren Jones Regatta. Ben has continued to be involved in a coaching capacity for the 2017 & 2018 events where we were represented by 4 teams each year.
Ben is also Head Coach of our Sailing Institute, where he is a coach and mentor to our many young and aspiring sailors.
Ben’s ability to relate to the sailors and lead by example has firmly cemented his place as a well-respected mentor and coach at our Club. Ben’s achievements have made him a wonderful role model and inspiration to our Club’s sailors and coaches. His enthusiasm and ability to connect with the sailors is a credit to him and his wealth of experience makes him an ideal coach and mentor for our sailors. Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is extremely fortunate to have someone of Ben’s calibre coaching at our Club.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club is immensely proud of Ben’s outstanding achievements – we look forward to his continued successes at all levels he is involved with and wish him all the best with his future endeavours. We look forward to Ben’s on-going involvement with our sailors, continuing to develop their skills in the discipline of match racing.
Volunteer of the Year – Peter Chalmer
Peter Chalmer is a loyal and dedicated member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Whilst Peter has been volunteering for many years, it was through his involvement with the Perth 2011 Championships off Fremantle, that he became a regular volunteer around the Club.
Peter carried out the mapping for the P2011 event including overall course areas and individual areas as well as course layout information sheets for our PRO’s race areas. He was responsible for the laying of the bottom mark throughout this event.
Peter is a familiar person to many fleets, often seen out on the race course helping with a variety of Special events which include IRC Big Boat Demo racing, ICR – the Club’s premier dinghy regatta, Bunbury & Return Race, WMRT, Dragon, Etchells, 9ers & F15’s events. Peter divides his volunteer time between his own sailing, on his Shaw 650 ‘Indecent Haste’ and his keelboat ‘Tydings’ on Wednesdays, Thursday & Saturdays.
Peter’s volunteer service is not just restricted to RFBYC. He has assisted at other Club events, including the National & State Schools Team Racing Championships as a mark layer and for Swan River Sailing as a mark layer and maintenance person for the Warren Jones Regatta.
In addition, Peter has played an integral part in the training and development of officials and future volunteers, through running Mark Laying courses. It is also not unusual to see Peter lending a hand by putting courses together for the On-Water team.
Peter was our Rear Commodore Sail from 2014-2016, currently sits on General Committee and Yachting Committee and is our Sports Boat & Mid-Week Fleet Captain.
Peter is a happy, reliable, friendly and outgoing member who has fully immersed himself into all aspects of Club life. He is an excellent example of a true Club volunteer who thoroughly enjoys giving back.
Official of the Year & Outstanding Contribution to Yachting – John McQueen
John McQueen is a Special member of RFBYC and after over 22 years of volunteer service in various roles, he decided to relocate to the country to enjoy his retirement with his lovely wife, Ros.
John first volunteered in 1990 as a course layer for junior sailing every Sunday when children, Gregor and Kathryn joined RFBYC from NYC, where he was Commodore, and in 1995 John became Race Officer for the Junior Club. John remained in this position until 2012 when he moved to assist in the Start Box for Saturday racing and assumed the role of Principal Race Officer following Bill Morris in 2012.
John is one of the longest serving Yachting Australia accredited National Race Officers in WA. John has conducted numerous events at state and national level for the Club and classes include Optimist, Mirror, Laser, 505, Dragons and Etchells.
He also conducted World championships for the 505 and Mirror classes. John has been the Race Officer for the International Classes Regatta from its inception up until recent years. He also acts as Race Officer for many events at other clubs and is a past recipient of the YWA Race Official of the Year award.
In addition, John has been Race Officer for many special events including the Salty Dog, Old Gaffers, KPMG Challenge, Athol Hobbs Regatta, 29er State Championships and has assisted in the Radio Room for offshore events.
In 2002 and 2004 John stepped into the manager role for the JESS program tour of Europe.
Apart from officiating, John has played a major role in the training of race officials and volunteers. He has conducted many courses at national race officer and club level for RFBYC and undertook the training of all on-water volunteers for Perth 2011. He was also a member of the Organising Committee for Perth 2011,
John was the Chair of the YWA Race Management Committee from 2003 – 2014 and remains a member.
John has been an active participant in club and sailing administration and was a member of the General Committee for 4 years. In addition, he was a member of the Board of Management of Yachting WA from 2003-05, Vice President 2005-08 and President from 08-11. Was Commodore of Nedlands Yacht Club from 1989 -91. Other positions have included ex officio positions on the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation and the Board of Yachting Australia.
John will be very much missed around the Club, in particular, by his colleagues in the Start Box. John has provided outstanding service as a Race Official. We wish John & Ros all the best in their retirement and relocation to Esperance.
Match Racing Team of the Year – Mirsky Racing Team
Torvar Mirsky, Lachy Gilmour, Camerson Seagreen, Damian Garbowski
Mirsky Racing Team was formed in January 2017 in the lead up to the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) events held in Western Australia. Skippered by Torvar Mirsky the team are currently ranked number 18 in the World Sailing Open Match Racing Rankings.
Over the past 12 months we have seen Mirsky Racing Team working together and fine tuning their match racing skills. Whilst time sailing on the M32’s was limited, the team sailed well and was placed a credible 3rd place at Match Cup Australia. The team found opportunities to compete in a few smaller events overseas to further develop their skills on the M32’s. At Match Cup Sweden, they were placed 10th. The highlight of the past 12 months was the Mirsky Racing Team’s win at the Match Cup Finals in China where they were the dark horse team who ended up with a 1st place on the podium.
The team, consisting of Lachy Gilmour, Cameron Seagreen, Damian Garbowski and skippered by Torvar Mirsky are focused on and off the water and looking ahead to the 2018 WMRT. When not match racing, Torvar has an interest in kiteboarding, Lachy in his own 49er campaign and Cameron & Damian are in demand anywhere from Etchells sailing to offshore racing and campaigns overseas.
All four of the team are very well-regarded members of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and who give back to their Club and the sport. They supported less experienced members in having a go at racing in the local M32 Series on the Swan River and received wonderful feedback from much older sailors. The team also assists the RFBYC Sailing Institute in passing on their knowledge and helping to develop the next generation of aspiring match racing sailors.
Club of the Year – Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club
The members and staff of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club are committed to the Club as a centre for excellence. Our focus is not just on winning, but on inspiring individuals to be active participants while enjoying and pursuing yachting and boating activities including hosting and organising local, national and international yachting and powerboat events.
The Club offers a range of on-water activities including dinghy sailing, keelboat and sports boat sailing, offshore racing, stand-up paddle boarding, St Ayles Skiff rowing (the Club supported members while two boats were built on site), and power boat time-trialling.
We aim to cater for every level of expertise from novice through to professional to help grow and support our sport. The Club’s Training Centre continues to excel with a healthy increase in participants during the 2017/18 Season. Recent statistics showed that RFBYC was the leading Discover Sailing Centre in Australia for the period 1 July to 31 December 2017.
RFBYC has nine partner schools involved with sail training and teams racing as well as two primary schools in the Sporting Schools Program utilising the Club’s facilities.
During the winter months, 80 sailors between the ages of 12 and 25 were part of the three squads training within the RFBYC Sailing Institute, which enables our experienced and professional sailors to coach and mentor young and enthusiastic sailors keen to learn from the best. The emphasis was on opportunities for youth and young adult sailors as the Club focuses on membership retention in the 18-35 age bracket. The Sailing Institute structure enabled the young sailors to gain teamwork and communication skills using the BW8 keelboat fleet. With young, experienced coaches most of whom participate in international events, the Sailing Institute gave sailors a unique insight – instilling confidence and skills in sailing on keelboats while further developing their fleet racing and match racing skills.
RFBYC has a history of match racing success and the Club believes that match racing is a great opportunity to excite young sailors and keep them involved in the sport. As part of the Sailing Institute two regattas were held and a ‘try sail’ day both in Etchells and F18s was successfully run.
With these opportunities many of the young sailors went on to try offshore racing in the Rockingham Race Weekend Youth Cup Series. Held for the second year the event was a success for sailors of all ages. Endorsed by RORC Rating Office and Australian Sailing, an adjustment to the IRC for all yachts with youth on-board was allowed with a bonus which increased for the number of young crew on-board.
In September we partnered with Swan River Sailing, RPYC and SoPYC to host Discover Sailing & Tackers Sessions at the Perth International Boat Show over a 4-day period. Despite the inclement weather conditions, it was pleasing to see 294 participants enjoy a Tackers experience and 374 participants enjoy a Keelboat Discover Sailing experience. This was an excellent opportunity to introduce the community to sailing. Another opportunity arose where we hosted as part of the City of Perth Festival of Sails and Warren Jones Regatta, a further Discover Sailing & Tackers Sessions, with improved weather conditions, we saw 262 Tackers participants and 426 Keelboat Discover Sailing participants enjoy a sailing experience.
The Club continues to have success with their Crew Experience Program where we have been able to place many people, experienced or no experience on keelboats.
Club sailing continues to flourish across all fleets. Dinghy racing is held weekly on Sundays throughout the summer season and on a scheduled winter program. Keelboats contest a winter series, summer series weekly on Saturdays, while mid-week racing proves to be very popular on Thursday afternoons year-round. Twilight Sailing held on Wednesday nights for our yachting fleet continued through the summer season while the winter season power boat time-trialling continued to be a popular pursuit.
Despite being a river-based Club, offshore racing continues to flourish with RFBYC represented in the last few years at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The Club also held the 69th Bunbury and Return Ocean Race and the 40th Farrawa Cup Series.
RFBYC’s highlight of the year was the opportunity in March to host the World Match Racing Tour events – WMRT Perth Cup and the first event of the 2017 tour, WMRT Match Cup – Australia. This was an exciting 2 weeks for our members who provided 95% of the On-Water and On-Shore support during the events with high calibre sailors from around the world utilising the Club’s amazing facilities. It was a brilliant demonstration of our members coming together to put on a world-class event. Careful organisation from our On-Water team ensured there was minimal (if any) disruptions to our usual Club racing. A very proud moment for our Club members and staff.
Our Adventurer’s Club has gone from strength to strength with members given the opportunity to have a fun sail in Club boats. Our adventure sails are scheduled once a month with numbers consistently exceeding 50 participants.
A new initiative was the #Girls Who Sail Camp for sailors from the ages of 7 to 17 years. We had 41 young girls sign up for a weekend of fun. Volunteer women sailors came on board to provide assistance and develop the girls’ skills. A great success and will now become an annual event on the calendar.
RFBYC is known around the world for its dedicated and friendly volunteers and coaches. The Club staff work closely with the members and Committee to ensure the highest level of service. There are many social activities throughout the year ensuring the Club is a lively and enjoyable place to be.